Virginia lawmakers are moving to eliminate mandatory minimums, but they’re at odds over which ones – Virginia Mercury

by Ned Oliver

Lawmakers in Virginia are moving forward with legislation to repeal a slew of mandatory minimum sentences, but the House and Senate are at odds over how far to go.

A bill passed by the Senate would scrap mandatory sentences for nearly all crimes on the books. The House, meanwhile, advanced legislation that focuses on drug offenses but preserves mandatory penalties for violent crimes and sex offenses.

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin raised $1 million from donors in first 10 days of campaign

“I’m so thankful to everyone who chose to invest in my campaign and the hope of bringing a new day to Virginia,” said Youngkin. “The broad-based support we’re seeing is overwhelming, and this incredibly strong start will propel us forward to win the Republican nomination for governor. I can’t wait to take on whoever the Democrats settle for, turn our Commonwealth red again, and make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

While the $1 million came from donors, Youngkin is expected to some of his considerable wealth to also fund his campaign.

Terry McAuliffe released his plan on Monday to tackle the housing crisis in the Commonwealth

In a statement, McAuliffe’s campaign said, “As Governor, Terry will implement bold and innovative strategies that will address the underlying causes of housing instability and homelessness, provide immediate support to individuals at-risk of eviction and dramatically expand the availability of affordable housing. This will require strong public-private partnerships and substantial investments in affordable housing.”

“Virginia has a real crisis on our hands when it comes to housing, but let’s be clear: the COVID-19 pandemic is only making a bad situation worse. For generations, Black and Brown Virginians have been systemically kept from the American dream of homeownership by racist, discriminatory policies, and it’s got to stop,” said Terry McAuliffe. “We must act boldly and decisively to end these racist practices, increase the supply of affordable housing, and tackle homelessness once and for all. As governor, I will make sure housing security is a primary aspect of our recovery. I will use all of the tools at my disposal to increase the availability of affordable housing and work to make sure all Virginians have a place to call home.”

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Democratic LG candidate Sam Rasoul Introduces Virginia Marshall Plan for Moms

His plan includes a package of policies aimed at getting Virginia moms and families back on their feet including child care for all, paid family and medical leave, and caregiver tax credit. Rasoul says will reserve a senior position in the Lieutenant Governor’s office as Director of Mothers Advocacy.

“Even before this pandemic, our economy did not work for families. We cannot accept any longer a status quo where having and raising children is a leading cause of poverty,” said Rasoul. “The way out of this problem, made much worse by the pandemic and economic crisis, is by following the data. And the data says: Invest in moms. Investing in moms is the surest, quickest path to economic recovery, and to creating a stronger, fairer economy than we had before.”

Following a movement led by mothers and their advocates calling for a National Marshall Plan for Moms, Rasoul is calling for a package of policies aimed at addressing the disproportionate challenges faced by Virginia moms and families, including:

  • Child care for all
  • Ensuring all workers have paid family and medical leave
  • Creating a caregiver income tax credit for $1000 in expenses incurred by an individual caring for a family member 
  • Expanding access to sick leave
  • Increasing the minimum wage
  • Instituting fair scheduling to require that businesses have predictable schedules for their employees
  • Helping employers support moms through employer incentives for targeted career development that allow moms to make up lost ground

Read the Virginia Marshall Plan for Moms.

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Virginia’s General Assembly heads to special session with bipartisan momentum on coronavirus relief bills – Washington Post

By Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella

Dramatic votes to legalize marijuana and abolish the death penalty have defined Virginia’s General Assembly session so far, but lawmakers say addressing the effects of the pandemic remains a priority.

The legislature adjourned its regular session Monday with legislative work only half complete and immediately prepared to reconvene in a special session Wednesday to finish the job.

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Lawmakers can start raising money while they legislate this year. Will they? – Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Patrick Wilson

The Virginia General Assembly is continuing to do the people’s business in Richmond, but starting now, lawmakers — 11 of them seeking statewide office — are allowed to raise campaign money while they work.

The loophole stems from some unusual mechanics in this year’s session.

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New COVID cases in Virginia drop to lowest level since December as more than 1.1 million shots given – Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Sabrina Moreno

Emerging from its deadliest month of the pandemic, Virginia is witnessing the number of new cases drop to levels last seen in December.

With a single-day increase of 1,700 COVID-19 infections, Monday signaled a sharp turnaround from the more than 5,200 daily cases recorded a month ago and a mostly sustained decline from a record-setting holiday surge that resulted in a nearly 10,000-case spike on Jan. 17.

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